A growing number of primary schools in Brighton & Hove are using furry toys called ‘Worry Monsters’ to help children deal with things that are upsetting them or making them anxious.
The Worry Monsters initiative is a joint scheme with the council’s public health team and mental health charity the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust.
Hertford Infant School and Nursery has three Worry Monsters, and always makes sure one is left in the corridor for their children to access whenever they want.
Children either write or draw their worries on a sheet of paper, and don’t have to write their names down if they don’t want to. They then put the piece of paper in the Worry Monster’s mouth, and the worry monster eats the problem up.
Assistant headteacher Tracey Bowers said: “Helping children deal with lower level worries can really help children enjoy school more and improve their academic performance.
“It’s also important for everyone to have a chance to talk about things, and for this we have Time2Talk sessions. Some children may feel they don’t have other places to download.
“Problems can include transition to junior school or between year groups, family problems, friendship issues or even just food they don’t like.
“We want our children to feel safe in school, and parental feedback very positive so far.
“The Worry Monsters are part of a holistic approach we have to upholding school values around supporting and feeling supported.”
Year two pupil Millie said: “I like the Worry Monster because no one can see your worries and you can just write it down and the Worry Monster will gobble it all up.”
Please visit www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/public-health-schools for further advice on children’s worries or mental health issues.